Energy Crops Consultancy (ECC) is a new renewable green energy company formed during the height of COVID-19 at the start of 2020. Using wood biomass primarily for energy generation, Energy Crops Consultancy is helping to create sustainable long-term renewable energy solutions to move away from the use of fossil fuels, with the added environmental benefits such as increased biodiversity, soil restoration, early pollination for bees and other insects, carbon storage, and natural flood management.
Working with farmers and landowners across the nation to grow and deliver high-quality sustainable end products derived from natural and renewable sources, the company provides both practical advice and hands-on support. Services include land preparation, planting, management and harvesting of energy crops, as well as setting up supply chains to secure income for growers.
Harvesting energy crops is a precise procedure and must be done strategically to maximise yield and income and ensure a successful crop in the next 2-4 year cycle over a period of 30+ years. One farmer who has already successfully planted a willow crop has been impressed by the results so far:
Having planted short rotation crop (SRC) willow in a field 18 years ago I was very surprised when we had a soil evaluation done recently on different parts of the farm to see the change in the soil profile in the willow crop field. I had been informed that this field wasn’t even good enough to be cultivated in the wartime when every piece of soil was utilised for food production. The evaluation carried out since the willow has been planted showed 9 inches of friable (easily-crumbled) top soil with a high organic content which wasn’t there 18 years previously when the soil was difficult to cultivate due to the plasticine nature of the clay.
Whether the land is marginal or good, it can be designed to enhance the surrounding arable crops or acts as shelter for livestock.
With woodchip biomass in greater demand, ECC has now acquired its very own New Holland self-propelled Forage Harvester from Lloyd Ltd in Carlisle, one of the country’s largest New Holland dealers. The machine has been fortified with extra protection and fitted with New Holland’s own purpose-built compact FB130 coppice header for its innovative use in meticulously harvesting renewable energy crops such as SRC willow and poplar wood crops across the country.
This means that ECC can now offer a complete end-to-end service from field to end market, able to fully manage the whole process from start to finish and ensure that growers receive the quality harvest they need for a successful future with their energy crops.
Lloyd Ltd is proud to be able to support ECC in providing and customising this New Holland machine.
This is such an exciting and innovative way of making use of the impressive technology and capabilities of the New Holland Forage Harvester so we were delighted to be able to work with ECC to make it happen.
Barry Lloyd, Managing Director, Lloyd Ltd.
Barry continued, “Our workshop team at Carlisle has really enjoyed tailoring the machine to ECC’s requirements as it’s such a different approach from how these machines are normally used. They’ve had the opportunity to apply their extensive skills and are genuinely excited at the finished machine. To know that it is going to be used to help with biodiversity and renewable energy too is great as these aspects are going to become increasingly important to the environment in future. We wish ECC every success and look forward to continuing to work with them as their business grows.”
Neil Watkins, co-founder of Energy Crops Consultancy, is delighted with the new partnership. “We have received excellent support from all the team at Lloyd Ltd in Carlisle, from the workshop to the sales team. This new specialist forage harvester is a fantastic opportunity for us as it gives us scope to expand our offering which our growers will benefit from. We look forward to working with Lloyd Ltd a lot more in the future.”
With the opportunity to support the ECC growers through even more machinery in the foreseeable future, Energy Crops Consultancy is pushing for a sustainable future by working with partners and contractors across the UK to cater for the demand of biofuel and deliver a high quality, sustainable end-product.